Not par for the course
By Josh Johnson
Splash Staff Writer
John Niece believes even the average hacker will score a hole-in-one at this year's 10th annual Liberty Lake Kiwanis Foundation Scholarship Scramble.
That's due to some tinkering under the hood of the golf tournament in order to maximize the fun and minimize the need to actually be, well, much of a golfer.
"I like to call it the funnest tournament on earth," said Niece, a longtime Kiwanian who is captaining the Scramble this year. "It really will be - unless they are really snobby, or zero handicap or something."
Whereas scratch golfers won past tournaments by carding scores well below par, average golfers will be able to score as well or better using "stroke enhancement kits" - which include items like the ability to throw the golf ball closer to the pin and a 2-foot string that allows players to kick in the difference on that shot that just missed.
"You don't necessarily have to be a 7 handicap or lower to have a chance to win this thing," Niece said. "Hit a few good shots, throw the ball a few times, get enough chips and you are going to score well."
Niece said one "stroke enhancement kit" is included with the $100 registration fee, and additional kits will be available for purchase. All proceeds from the event benefit the scholarships distributed by the club - more than $140,000 and counting have been distributed in the event's history.
Also included in the fee is a chicken or steak dinner - a new 1 p.m. afternoon start time providing the opportunity to move away from the barbecue lunch of years' past.
The scramble also won't fall on its traditional first Saturday in June this year - it will be May 31 instead - because the local high schools have graduations on the first Saturday this year instead of the second Saturday of years' past.
"This whole tournament is about scholarships," Niece explained. "We have the kids who receive scholarships at the event, so (landing the same day as graduation) wasn't going to work too well."
Niece emphasized that scholarship recipients traditionally include everything from the top academic achievers to others seeking to be first-generation college students from their family. Past recipients have included some from Barker High School, an alternative school in the Central Valley School District where the Liberty Lake Kiwanians support a Key Club.
"To give a kid an opportunity to go on in education is really cool," Niece said.
The Kiwanis Club lost a significant sponsor this year, meaning they are working even harder to make up for the lost income. Several sponsorship opportunities are available for businesses or individuals (opportunities start at $50).
For more information about the tournament, sponsorships or to register, visit www.libertylakekiwanis.org or call Niece at 294-8500.